A Right-Winger’s Guide to Labor Economics

Cartoon by Barry


For want of a shoe the shoelace was lost. For want of a shoelace the shoefly was lost. For want of a shoefly the flyover states were lost. For want of the flyover states the state of grace was lost. And the only way to get the state of grace back is to support these cartoons on Patreon. Weird how that works.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has six panels. Every panel shows the same man, a white man with a mustache and thick hair that’s going white around the temples, who is speaking to the reader in front of an abstract color backgound. He’s wearing tan slacks, a light blue collared shirt, and a red striped necktie.

PANEL 1

A caption at the top of the panel, in big red letters, says:

A RIGHT-WINGER’S GUIDE TO LABOR ECONOMICS

The man in the necktie is looking sincere, his hands pressed together in front of him almost like he’s praying.

MAN: CEOs are infallible and holy and the government must get out of their way.

PANEL 2

The same man is suddenly exploding with anger, stomping his feet and waving his hands and yelling.

MAN: Workers are the worst! They need the constant threat of unemployment, homelessness and starvation to do anything!

PANEL 3

In a closer shot, the man looks out at the reader with an expression of bewilderment, as he shrugs.

MAN: If Luisa’s boss is illegally paying her $3.50 an hour, then $3.50 is exactly what she’s worth! I can think of no other explanation!

PANEL 4

Now the man has switched into a wise-professor-explaining pose, face calm, a finger raised to emphasize his point as he speaks.

MAN: High unemployment happens when millions of people get lazy all at once. It stays high until they all suddenly stop being lazy. Until the next recession, when they’re lazy again.

PANEL 5

A sudden, extreme closeup shows the man‘s face contorted with furry as he yells. (Wait, no, contorted with “fury,” not “furry.” I don’t know or want to know what being ”contorted with furry” is.) We can see that he’s trembling, and a little caption with an arrow pointing at him says “trembling with rage.”

The background, which up until now has mostly been a cool light purple, is bright red/pink in this panel.

MAN (yelling): When unions force rich people to pay employees more, that’s literal armed robbery!

PANEL 6

The “camera” pulls back to a full-figure shot, and his expression is now calm and smiling and a little smug. He’s got his arms crossed and is standing with one foot on the heel in a jaunty sort of pose.

MAN: Everything I say is the objective truth because I am super logical and definitely not just rationalizing my ideological beliefs and if you don’t agree then you suck at economics! LOL!


This cartoon on Patreon

Posted in Conservatives, Economic cartoons |

Equal Opportunity, Not Equal Outcomes

Cartoon by Barry


If you like these cartoons, you’ll probably also like sticking your toes into a mud bank and wiggling them until the neon worms come to nestle between your toes. If you can manage to stay like that for 30 hours straight despite the exhaustion and increasing pain from not moving (lifehack: bring a pillow to sit on), you’ll gain the power to walk across water. The downside is, you’ll leave glowing neon footprints everywhere you go, making it easy for the secretive government agency to track you down and throw you into their secret facility for studying people with powers. And the worst part is, the smooth-faced people in low-end businesswear who run that agency don’t like cartoons at all. So to pre-emptively get revenge on them, remember to subscribe to my patreon before they lock you up. (And say hi to the neon worms from me!)


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. Each panel shows the same two people walking on a path on a hillside as they talk. The person walking in front is a Black man, with a mustache and beard, wearing a t shirt with a sort of smiley face on it, except the face has a neutral expression rather than a smile. The second person is a white man with black hair in a tidy haircut, and a plaid sweater-vest over a collared shirt. For purposes of this transcript, I’m calling these two characters TSHIRT and VEST.

PANEL 1

Vest is speaking seriously as he talks to Tshirt. Tshirt is very enthused about what he’s hearing, smiling big and spreading his arms expansively.

VEST: It’s stupid to expect equal outcomes, because not everyone is equal. Some people are just born with less ability than others. What we need is equal opportunity.

TSHIRT:  “Equal opportunity” sounds great!

PANEL 2

A close-up of Tshirt and he turns to look at Vest, enthusiastically smiling as he holds up a finger while making a point.

TSHIRT: Let’s start with a massive inheritance tax. Nothing‘s a more unequal opportunity than some people being born with millions while others start with nothing.

PANEL 3

A longer shot shows more of the environment; we can see plants with long leaves in the foreground, and trees in both the foreground and background. Tshirt, still very enthused, slaps a fist into a palm as he anticipates what might be done.  Vest looks panicked, holding up his palms in a “whoa there!” gesture, eyes wide.

TSHIRT: We can use that money to make other opportunities equal. Like free college! And free health care for all! And—

VEST: STOP!  I didn’t mean any of that stuff! I just mean Black people are less intelligent so we shouldn’t try to fix race inequality!

PANEL 4

Tshirt, looking calm but also angry, has turned to face Vest, with his hands on his hips. Vest has turned away from Tshirt, arms crossed, nose held high in a snooty expression.

TSHIRT: Oh, so you’re just a complete fucking racist.

VEST: Intolerant reactions like that are exactly why I prefer to say “equal opportunity.”


This cartoon on Patreon

Posted in Economic cartoons, Racism & Racists |

Anything to Fix the Housing Crisis

Cartoon by Barry


If you like these cartoons, then you’d probably like my cousin Edna. And if you like my cousin Edna, you’d probably also like her special tuna noodle casserole made with tabasco sauce. And if you like my cousin Edna’s special tuna noodle casserole made with tabasco sauce, then the police are interested in talking with you about an incident on Berlington Circle Avenue last Tuesday, but they say you’re not a suspect and no need to hire a lawyer. But if you do hire a lawyer, cousin Edna knows a guy. And that guy supports these cartoons on Patreon.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has six panels. All the panels show two women, one with spiky hair and one with curly hair, talking to each other. The spiky-haired woman is wearing a red and pink striped v-neck tee shirt, shorts, and sneakers. The curly-haired woman is wearing an orange tank top and a purple skirt with a pattern of large dots.

PANEL 1

Spiky is looking distressed, holding her hands to her head; Curly looks determined, pounding her palm with her fist.

SPIKY: The affordable housing crisis gets worse every year!

CURLY: Let’s fix this – I’ll do anything!

PANEL 2

Spiky is enthusiastic, lifting a pointer finger in the air as she makes a point. Curly turns away, holding up a palm in a dismissive way, looking annoyed.

SPIKY: Our biggest problem is the zoning laws. If we allowed taller buildings with units reserved for low-income–

CURLY: I don’t want to live close to those people!

PANEL 3

Spiky is taken aback, and makes her new point with a lot less confidence in her body language. Curly keeps her back turned to Spiky and crosses her arms.

SPIKY: Um… Let’s at least ban single-family zoning. If people could build “granny apartments”–

CURLY: That could change the “feel” of my neighborhood.

PANEL 4

Spiky clasps her hands in front as she makes a new suggestion, almost looking like she’s begging. Curly has turned back to face Spiky and looks angry, arms akimbo.

SPIKY: If we got rid of minimum lot sizes…

CURLY: Ugh! Houses built close together are ugly!

PANEL 5

Spiky makes another suggestion, looking unhappy, and Curly angrily rejects that suggestion.

SPIKY: How about eliminating parking minimums for new housing?

CURLY: And make parking spaces harder to find? Never!

PANEL 6

The characters are drawn smaller, as if we’re exiting this scene. Now Spiky looks annoyed, and her arms are akimbo. Curly looks cheerful and spreads her palms as if she’s making an obvious point.

SPIKY: So when you said you’d do “anything”…?

CURLY: Anything that doesn’t change anything.


This cartoon on Patreon

Posted in Economic cartoons |

What We Can Afford

Cartoon by Barry


This comic is by myself and Kevin Moore.


IF you like these cartoons, support them like a suspension bridge after the holidays but before three shakes of a cat’s tale of woe by supporting my patreon!


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has six panels. Each panel shows the same two people talking, a middle-aged male politician type wearing a well-tailored suit, and a younger woman wearing a jeans jacket over an untucked yellow shirt.  We’ll call the two characters “SENATOR” and “ACTIVIST” for purposes of this transcript.

PANEL 1

Senator and Activist are talking, although the Senator doesn’t look like he wants to be in this conversation – he’s looking at his cell phone. The activist is facing him and looks serious, holding a palm up in a “here’s the point I’m making” gesture.

ACTIVIST: Good welfare programs can actually save the government money. Homes for the homeless, health care for children and pregnant women, free pre-K education, good vocational education in prison… All these programs save us money in the long run.

PANEL 2

A close-up of Activist, smiling and pressing a forefinger to the side of her head.

ACTIVIST: We should do these tings because they’re the right thing to do… But they’re also the smart thing to do.

PANEL 3

The camera has backed up enough so that we can see that the two of them are standing on a big pile of cash. The senator is smiling and shrugging. The activist is gesturing at the cash they’re standing on.

SENATOR: Even if that’s true, we just can’t afford it! The debt, the deficit… The country’s broke!

ACTIVIST: What is this we’re standing on?

PANEL 4

The “camera” has pulled back even more, and we can now see that the two of them are standing on top of a huge load of money being carried by an enormous dump truck. There’s so much money that it rises high above the sides of the truck’s, um, you know, that space that big trucks have that they carry their loads in. I’m sure there’s a word for it, but I don’t know what that word is. Anyway, the pile of money rises high above whatever we call that.

(The word “Moola” is painted on the front of the truck).

SENATOR: This? One of our daily dump trucks full of money for huge tax breaks for rich people and big corporations.

ACTIVIST: And what is the truck standing on?

PANEL 5

The “camera” has pulled back even more, and now we can see that the dump truck full of money is parked on top of a pile of money that’s huge even when compared to a giant dump truck. The money is on top of a cargo ship, which is floating on the ocean.

Se can still make out the Senator and the Activist, but the camera is now pulled back so far that they’re little more than tiny dots.

SENATOR: Let’s see… The truck is on top of one of our daily cargo ships full of money for the military.

PANEL 6

The “camera” has zoomed back in to a close shot of the two people. The Senator is talking with a neutral expression. The activist is face-palming.

SENATOR: Why? What’s your point?


This cartoon on Patreon

Posted in Economic cartoons, Kevin Moore collaborations |

Capitalism can Innovate Around Anything!

Cartoon by Barry


If you like these cartoons, please support them! Each $2 pledge really helps! Do it or I’ll buy a puppy from a puppy farm instead of going to a shelter!


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels, plus an additional tiny “kicker” panel under the bottom of the cartoon.

The cartoon shows two businessmen-types walking on a city street. One of them is wearing a red bow-tie and a sky-blue suit; the other is wearing an ordinary tie and a duller suit, with a desaturated green jacket and black pants. The bow-tie guy is totally bald – probably shaves his head – and has a van dyke beard and mustache. The regular-tie guy has blond hair and is cleanshaven, and is looking at his smart phone as he walks.

PANEL ONE

The two of them walk on the sidewalk, Blonde looking at his phone, Bowtie raising his arms enthusiastically as he talks, grinning. (Not important to the cartoon: In the background, across the street, a smiling businessman talks to a smiling man with red skin, horns, and a tail, who is holding up a clipboard. And a woman in a second story window leans out to smile at a largish bird which is hovering and looking back at her.)

BOWTIE: The most amazing thing about capitalism is the creative genius of entrepreneurs!

PANEL 2

A closeup on just Bowtie, who looks overjoyed. His eyes are drawn as stars, and the air around him is filled with stars and dollar signs.

BOWTIE: If there’s profit to be made, there’s nothing capitalism can’t do! Feed the world! Create the internet! Create modern medicine!

PANEL 3

A shot of the two of them walking. Bowtie keeps on grinning and talking, his fists pumped in front of him in a pleased sort of way. Blonde reads something from the cell phone he’s holding.

BOWTIE: There’s no problem that capitalism can’t innovate around!

BLONDE: Hey, look at this: some senators want new regulations to protect the climate.

PANEL 4

Bowtie jumps straight up into the air (cartoon code for “I am very surprised”), clutching his face in his hands, his mouth and eyes huge in an expression of enormous dismay. He is yelling. Blonde, surprised by Bowtie’s big reaction, is stumbling back from Bowtie a little.

BOWTIE: NOOOO! CAPITALISM IS DOOMED!

TINY KICKER PANEL UNDER THE BOTTOM OF THE STRIP

Bowtie is speaking directly to the readers, his face still showing distress.

BOWTIE: Even if capitalism miraculously survives, some rich people will be slightly less rich! I can’t imagine a greater tragedy!


This cartoon on patreon

Posted in Economic cartoons, Environmental cartoons |

How City Budgets Work

Cartoon by Barry


If you like these cartoons, help us make more by supporting the Patreon! Getting lots of $1 and $2 pledges is our business model. Also, I just used the term “business model” in a sentence. Life is weird.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

(New drinking game! Every time I make a typo, take a drink. Don’t play this game if you have to drive later.)

This cartoon has four panels. Each panel shows a different scene, and has a different color palette.

PANEL 1

This panel, drawing with an orange-ish palette, shows a woman talking on the phone, looking a little panicked. Beside her, a wide-eyed child watches, looking very worried. Above them both is a large caption, in big green letters.

CAPTION: HOW CITY BUDGETS WORK

WOMAN: A six year waiting list? But we’re homeless now!

PANEL 2

This panel is colored in shades of purple.

A middle-aged woman wearing glasses and a striped dress is talking to a middle-aged man wearing a suit and tie. She looks wide-eyed and worried; he looks angry, glaring into space as he talks.

Behind them we can see a big window; various shapes (a banana, an apple, flowers, a star) have been cut out of paper and taped to the window. In front of them, we see mostly the heads and faces of a crowd of children, variously talking, smiling, making a peace sign, and dozing off (with a bit of drool).

WOMAN: But we can’t fit another 30 chairs into this classroom!

MAN: Chairs? City Hall says kids can stand.

PANEL 3

This panel is colored in very dreary shades of green.

We are looking through a doorway at a man with slightly shaggy hair, who sits unhappily at a cheap rectangular table in an otherwise empty room. Outside the room, leaning back as if he’s just calling something into the room while rushing past, a man wearing glasses and a jacket and tie, talks to the shaggy-haired man.

RUSHING MAN: Hi! I’m your public defender. Unfortunately, I’ve been assigned so many defendants that introducing myself is all the time I have for your case this month.

RUSHING MAN: See you at your trial!

PANEL 4

This panel is colored in shades of blue, except for the cash, which is colored in green.

A group of cops is dancing merrily while grinning. One cop waggles his midsection; one imitates John Travolta’s disco pose from “Saturday Night Fever”; a couple dances in a pair, arms on each other’s shoulders; a few others are kicking and throwing their arms up into the hair. It’s a celebration. Green cash is filling the air, raining down on them.

COPS (said by several in unison): MONEY DANCE!


How City Budgets Work | Barry Deutsch on Patreon

Posted in Economic cartoons |

I’ve Tried Everything To Find New Workers!

Cartoon by Barry


If you like my cartoons, please help me make more by supporting my Patreon.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon is four panels long. Each panel shows the same prosperous-looking middle-aged white man, wearing a suit and tie, walking on city sidewalks and talking loudly into his cell phone.

There’s an additional tiny “kicker” panel below the bottom of the comic.

PANEL 1

Necktie man is talking into his cell phone with an aggrieved expression. He’s walking pass an annoyed-looking young guy leaning against a wall. The young guy is wearing a backwards baseball cap, glasses, and a tank top, and he’s speaking to necktie man. Necktie man gives no sign of having heard.

NECKTIE: I’ve tried everything to find new workers! I’ve gone to job fairs… Offered them tee-shirts for applying…

WALL LEANER: Did you offer higher wages?

PANEL 2

Necktie dude is now in a different area, still looking aggrieved and talking loudly into his phone. On the street next to the sidewalk, a blonde woman on a bike, wearing a red bike helmet and a blue hoodie, talks to Necktie as she passes him.

NECKTIE: I can’t fill these jobs! I even got the government to throw people off unemployment… Nothing works!

BIKER: Have you tried offering higher wages?

PANEL 3

Necktie walks past a little girl playing hopscotch on the same sidewalk. The girl is wearing a purple skirt with puffy tool at the bottom, and a sleeveless tee with a pattern of red spirals.

NECKTIE: I’m offering unpredictable schedules, minimal benefits and $9 an hour! And they still don’t want my jobs?

LITTLE GIRL: You should offer higher wages.

PANEL 4

Necktie dude walks past a couple of casually-dressed protestors. The first protestor is holding a large sign that says “HIGHER,” and the second protestor has a large sign that says “WAGES.”

NECKTIE: I’ve tried everything. They just don’t want to work!

NECKTIE: Hello, governor? Can we arrest people for being unemployed?

TINY KICKER PANEL UNDER THE BOTTOM OF THE STRIP

Necktie dude, still looking grumpy, is talking at Barry the cartoonist.

NECKTIE: I’d love to pay higher wages, but we don’t have the money! I had to get by on only a $38 million salary this year!


This cartoon on Patreon.

Posted in Economic cartoons, Labor rights & Unions |

Doing Too Little vs Helping Too Many

Cartoon by Barry


Help us keep making cartoons by supporting my Patreon! If you do, you’ll grow three feet taller and dogs everywhere will like you!


This month’s collab with Becky Hawkins has more of Becky in it than usual, I think.

This cartoon originated in a remark Becky made, that most safety net debates seem to boil down to doing too little versus helping too many. What Becky said stuck in my head, and I came back to her with this cartoon script.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. All four panels show the same two people. A redhead wearing thick glasses and a green jacket over a checkboard sweater – let’s face it, they look like a nerd – is sitting at a desk, with a stack of papers on the desk. (I’m a nerd, so I’m allowed to say that.) Standing next to the desk is a blonde woman with a blue dress and a matching blue necklace.

PANEL 1

Redhead gestures towards the stack of papers, smiling. Necklace leans over to look at the papers, raising an eyebrow.

REDHEAD: Check this out! I’ve created a proposal for better welfare benefits.

NECKLACE: Hmmm…

PANEL 2

Necklace points to something on the papers, looking a little annoyed.  Redhead is concerned by what she’s saying.

NECKLACE: But this plan leaves so many people out.

PANEL 3

Redhead leans back over the papers, writing rapidly with a pen. Necklace leans over, hand on chin, as she looks at what Redhead’s writing.

REDHEAD: Good point… Here, let me just fix some things…

PANEL 4

Redhead, looking proud, holds up a paper to display to Necklace. Necklace angrily yells, throwing papers into the air.

REDHEAD: Okay, how’s this?

NECKLACE: NOW YOUR PLAN HELPS PEOPLE WHO DON’T DESERVE IT!


This cartoon on Patreon

Posted in Becky Hawkins collaborations, Economic cartoons |

Corporate Diversity Training

Cartoon by Barry


If you enjoy these cartoons, please support them on Patreon.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels, showing a zoom conversation between someone who looks like a successful middle aged executive (vest, tie, bald on top, drapery in the background) and someone who looks much younger, with a light yellow polo shirt and deferential body language. Behind him we can see a neat, uncluttered room with a plant on a bookcase and some sort of framed certificate or degree on the wall.

PANEL 1

We are looking at a laptop, open; on the laptop’s screen, we see a zoom-style conversation with two people, who I’ll call the executive and yellowshirt. The executive is holding up a finger as he gives out an assignment, and looks demanding. Yellowshirt is holding up a hand as he tries to explain something.

EXECUTIVE: This company needs to say it’s done something to become more diverse.

YELLOWSHIRT: Sir, I’ve been reading the research on this.

PANEL 2 

A medium shot of Yellowshirt, now raising both palms as he warms to his subject.

YELLOWSHIRT: Quickie “diversity seminars” don’t help, and can even make things worse because of the resentment factor. We won’t become really diverse until we commit to changing how we recruit and mentor, starting from the top.

PANEL 3

A long shot of Yellowshirt. We can now see that the room outside the view of his webcam is actually incredibly sloppy; there’s an open pizza box, a pile of laundry, a half eaten apple. a sock hanging off a bookshelf, an empty soda can on its side, and other sorts of junk. Yellowshirt, arms spread, is looking enthusiastic as he warms to the subject.

YELLOWSHIRT: It’ll take years of hard work. We’d have to change our company culture. But if we do it, we can make our company more diverse and more profitable.

PANEL 4

Back to the split-screen showing both the executive and Yellowshirt. The executive is leaning forward, towards the camera, and is holding a flat hand out in a “cutting you off now” gesture. Yellowshirt is face-palming.

EXECUTIVE: Listen to my words. We need to say we’ve done something. To SAY it.

YELLOWSHIRT: I’ll schedule a diversity seminar right away, sir.

Posted in Economic cartoons |

Are You GENUINELY Poor?

Cartoon by Barry


Please support these cartoons by supporting my Patreon! Just a $1 or $2 pledge means a lot to me.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. Each panel shows two men: A not-wealthy looking man with shaggy hair and some stubble, and a bald man in glasses, wearing a business suit and tie. Each panel shows them at a sidewalk with grass growing in the background.

PANEL 1

Shaggy is wearing a wrinkled collared shirt and jeans. Necktie is wearing a gray suit with a tie with a dot pattern.

It’s bright daytime. Shaggy, with his back turned to Necktie, is looking at and poking a smartphone, and, in the helpful way people so often do in the first panel of my cartoons, talking aloud to himself. Necktie is turning to look at, and yell at, Shaggy.

SHAGGY: I can’t find a job and I’m out of money… Time to google “food stamps.”

NECKTIE: Food stamps are for people who are genuinely poor. If you were poor, you wouldn’t own a smartphone, would you?

PANEL 2

A caption says “one week later.”

From the light, it appears to be early evening. Shaggy is wearing a plaid shirt and Black pants, and has a backpack; Necktie is wearing a pinstripe suit and a tie with horizontal stripes.

Shaggy is looking worried and has a hand on his chest; Necktie is sternly talking to, and pointing at, Shaggy.

SHAGGY: I sold my phone, but now I’m out of money again.

NECKTIE: So sell your car. No one who owns a car is poor.

PANEL 3

A caption says “one month later.”

The same two men, on a similar patch of sidewalk. Shaggy is wearing sweatpants with a stripe down the side, and a hole in one knee, and a tee shirt. Necktie is wearing a dark blue suit, a black shirt, and a light-colored necktie.

Shaggy is sitting on the curb, slumping, looking down both literally and metaphorically. Necktie, talking to Shaggy, looks very cheerful.

SHAGGY: Now I’ve got no money for food, no phone for job hunting, and no car to get to a job!

NECKTIE: Excellent! Now you’re genuinely poor!

PANEL 4

The same scene, a moment later. Shaggy, looking hopeful, is looking up at Necktie. Necktie folds his arms and grins even more.

SHAGGY: So now you’re okay with me getting food stamps?

NECKTIE: Nope!

Posted in Barry's favorites, Economic cartoons |

Capitalism/Socialism

Cartoon by Barry


If you like these cartoons, help me make more at my Patreon! Lots of $1 or $2 pledges means I can make a living.


Today’s comic is written by me and drawn by Jake Richmond, creator of Modest Medusa. Jake is a longtime friend and collaborator of mine – he colored my “Hereville” graphic novels – but this is the first time he’s drawn a comic of mine.

Jake’s a terrific cartoonist. The major reason I asked him to draw this strip rather than another is because I’ve always liked how Jake draws water.


 

TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. All four panels show a man in a one-person rowboat. He’s rowing  The man is wearing an “Uncle Sam” style red-white-and-blue top hat.

PANEL 1

The man – let’s call him Uncle Sam – is rowing and talking cheerfully. He’s rowing facing backwards (as people often do in rowboats), so he can’t see that his boat is heading straight towards a large rock jutting above the water.

SAM: Capitalism capitalism capitalism capitalism…

PANEL 2

The boat hits the rock, and Sam is thrown over the side of the boat. His hat flies up a little off his head, and we can see that he’s bald.

SAM: Capitali- AHH!

PANEL 3

The man, looking panicked, scrambles to get back into the boat, yelling as he struggles, the water splashing around him. His hat floats on the water nearby.

SAM: SOCIALISM! SOCIALISM! SOCIALISM!

PANEL 4

Sam is now back in the rowboat, looking happy and relieved. All is calm. He has put the hat, dripping with water, back on his head.

SAM: Where was I…? Oh yes… Capitalism capitalism…

Posted in Economic cartoons |

Private Equity Vampire

Cartoon by Barry


If you enjoy these comics, please help me make more by supporting my Patreon! A $1 or $2 pledge really matters.


TRANSCRIPT OF COMIC:

This comic strip has four panels. All four panels show the same two characters. The first is a balding businessman-looking type, middle-aged, wearing a collared shirt and necktie, and wearing glasses. The second character is a stereotypical male vampire, with pointy ears, pale skin, fangs, and a big black cloak.

All four panels take place at night, in a hilly graveyard.

PANEL 1

This panel shows the businessman jumping back in fear as the vampire leans towards him, leering.

BUSINESSMAN: Gasp! A vampire!

VAMPIRE: I’m not a vampire. I’m a private equity firm! I’m here to help you because you’re fragile and weak!

PANEL 2

A shot shows weeds and a bare tree and some graves, mostly in silhouette, in the foreground. Far in the background, we can see the businessman being chased by the vampire. There’s a full moon in the sky.

BUSINESSMAN: But I’m actually very healthy!

VAMPIRE: You look healthy. But you need to be owned and monitored by someone who knows literally nothing about your business.

PANEL 3

In front of a stone wall with a rickety iron-bar fence, the vampire has caught the businessman, and is leaning the businessman backward while he bends forwards and sucks the blood out of the businessman’s neck. The businessman looks very distressed, understandably; the vampire looks like he’s concentrating on his meal.

BUSINESSMAN: Now you’re just sucking away all my blood for yourself.

VAMPIRE: I’m forcing you to innovate and learn to do more with less blood!

PANEL 4

The businessman lies dead on the ground, his glasses having fallen off his face, eyes in the little cartoon “x”s of death. Standing above him, the vampire cheerfully speaks, holding out a hand in an “explaining” gesture.

VAMPIRE: So it seems that without blood, you weren’t nimble enough to adapt to a changing market. I’m sure you would have died sooner if I hadn’t stepped in!

Posted in Economic cartoons |

Which Economic System Prevents Pandemics?

Cartoon by Barry


Welcome to my friend and now collaborator Frank Young, who colored this cartoon. There’s no way I could do justice to Frank’s resume – cartoonist, novelist, former editor of the Comics Journal, author of many nonfiction books about classic comics, and curator of many fine collections of classic comics.

The first time Frank colored this cartoon, he colored it like a regular cartoon – you know, with actual colors and stuff. I had to ask him to try again, this time using the sort of very limited palettes I usually prefer. I’m very happy with how the finished cartoon came out.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels, plus a small “kicker” panel below the bottom of the strip.

Each of the panels shows the same scene; two humans, and an anthropomorphized coronavirus (with a perfectly round head and little things sticking out of the head in every direction). Other than that, the corona virus has an ordinary human body.

The two humans are a woman with shoulder-length hair, wearing a turtleneck and a skirt with a floral pattern; and a woman with glasses, black bobbed hair (like Lucy from Peanuts), and a sleeveless dress over a striped short-sleeved shirt.

They’re sitting around a little round table with two cups of coffee on it. The two women are arguing. The coronavirus is just looking ahead blankly, not seeming to pay attention to what the women are saying.

PANEL 1

GLASSES: It’s not a coincidence that cornonavirus began in a communist country. An unfettered free market wouldn’t have-

TURTLENECK: That’s crap!

PANEL 2

TURTLENECK: Single payer could have prevented this!

GLASSES: Socialized medicine didn’t save Italy, Spain and Germany!

PANEL 3

The same scene. The two women are leaning into their argument, their noses almost touching. The coronavirus, still without much expression, lifts a forefinger and speaks.

TURTLENECK: Just like capitalism didn’t-

GLASSES: How can you ignore-

CORONAVIRUS: Can I say something?

PANEL 4

Silent panel.

The chair coronavirus was sitting in is empty, and coronavirus is not in this panel.

The two women slump against the table and chairs, dead. (They have little “X”s for eyes, cartoon symbols for being dead.) An overturned coffee mug on the table is spilling over the side of the table.

SMALL KICKER PANEL UNDER THE BOTTOM OF THE STRIP

Two middle-aged men talk; one of them is Barry, the cartoonist. The first man looks inquisitive; Barry responds cheerfully.

MAN: So you’re saying both sides are equally bad?

BARRY: The phrase “fuck no” is woefully inadequate.


Posted in COVID-19, Economic cartoons |

Copyright: The Biggest Government Giveaway of All (featuring Bill Gates)

Cartoon by Barry


This cartoon was inspired by this Dean Baker essay.


If you like these cartoons, help me make more by supporting my Patreon! A $1 or $2 pledge really matters.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has five panels, plus a small “kicker” panel under the cartoon. All of the panels show the same setting: a sidewalk next to a grassy field with a couple of scattered trees.

PANEL 1

A balding man is talking on his cell phone, ranting to a friend or perhaps calling in to talk radio. He’s wearing a short sleeved shirt with a “!” on front. Behind him, Bill Gates is walking up to him with a friendly expression, raising a forefinger in a “making a point” gesture.

MAN: I say, Bill Gates earned every dollar of his $108 billion! The government had nothing to do with it!

BILL GATES: Actually, that’s not true.

PANEL 2

The man, turning around, jumps with surprise.

MAN: Gasp! Bill Gates!

GATES: I owe my fortune to the biggest government giveaway of all… Copyright law!

PANEL 3

A close-up of Gates, smiling and explaining.

GATES: People talk about copyright for “lifetime plus seventy years” as if it’s a law of nature. It’ snot! It’s a law that big corps like Disney lobbied for!

PANEL 4

A longer shot of Gates, spreading his hands as he talks.

GATES: If copyright only lasted five years, I might have to get by on “only” $25 million, and consumers would save a ton of money!

GATES: Plus, less monopoly would probably mean better products.

PANEL 5

Gates walks away, looking upward and holding one hand out towards the sky in a “I am a visionary” sort of gesture. Behind him, the balm man is happily cheering.

GATES: Now, if you’ll excuse me, somewhere out there is a small company with a great product. I’ll buy them out and make sure no one sees that great product for seventy years!

GATES: Just another way consumers get screwed by… Copyright law!

MAN: Hooray! Thank you Bill Gates!

SMALL KICKER PANEL UNDER THE BOTTOM OF THE STRIP

Barry the cartoonist, looking mildly surprised, is talking to the bald man, who is smiling.

BARRY: Why are you cheering? Aren’t you against government interference with free markets?

MAN: Mainly I just worship rich people.

Posted in Economic cartoons |

Billionaires Discuss Economics

Cartoon by Barry


If you enjoy these cartoons, help me make more by supporting my Patreon! A $1 pledge really helps.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has five panels, plus a small “kicker” panel below the bottom of the final panel.

PANEL 1

This is a title panel, showing a sedate arrangement of flowers in front of a vase. That’s all just the background for the lettering, which says: “Another edifying episode of… Billionaires discuss Economics”

PANEL 2

A middle aged-man sits in a high-backed desk chair; there is a desk in front of him, with a laptop and a cup of coffee on a saucer. He’s reading a magazine called “Tax Dodge Monthly.” But at this moment he’s looked up from the magazine to address the viewer, smiling.

SEATED MAN: Giving poor people handouts creates a culture of dependency, so the best way to help is to give them nothing.

PANEL 3

A younger man, wearing glasses and a Yale tee shirt, stands on a tennis court, holding a tennis racket over one shoulder. He speaks to the reader, looking friendly.

TENNIS: My great-great-grandfather made a fortune busting unions and paying workers a pittance. And eventually I inherited that fortune! Why can’t poor people just do that?

PANEL 4

A middle-aged man, balding, with a neat, pointy beard just on his chin, speaks sternly to the readers, one forefinger raised as if making a point. He’s wearing a double-breasted blazer and a necktie. Next to him, his dog looks up at him calmly. Behind him is an enormous mansion with big pillars surrounding the door.

BEARD: I’m sorry some people can’t afford health care, but we can’t help everyone with every little problem. People need to toughen up.

PANEL 5

The three characters from the previous three panels are all in this panel, looking frightened and panicked.

SITTING MAN: A small tax increase on income over fifty million dollars? It’s highway robbery!

TENNIS: Where’s their compassion?

BEARD: Why don’t they care what happens to us?

SMALL KICKER PANEL BELOW THE BOTTOM OF THE STRIP

The “Beard” character from panel four is chewing out Barry, the cartoonist.

BEARD: This cartoon is yet another example of pervasive anti-billionaire bigotry!

Posted in Economic cartoons |

It’s Excessive Occupational Licensing, Charlie Brown!

Cartoon by Barry


Help me make more cartoons by supporting my Patreon! I make a living through $1 pledges.


This cartoon is a collaboration with Becky Hawkins.  Becky and I have done other political cartoons together, and we also collaborate on our webcomic SuperButch.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels, plus a small extra “kicker” panel below the bottom of the strip. Each panel has the same setting – a green field with blue sky, and a childish booth, drawn to resemble Lucy’s “psychiatric help, the doctor is in” booth from the comic strip Peanuts. But this booth says “State Legislature, the Senator is in.”

Behind the desk is a white man with gray hair and a conservative suit and tie.

Panel 1

The Senator sits behind his booth, listening with his head resting on one hand. A Black person with braided hair has walked up to the booth and is talking to him.

BRAIDER: I’m starting a business braiding Black people’s hair. But the law says I can’t until I’ve taken two thousand hours of training in styling white people’s hair.

Panel 2

The Braider keeps on talking, getting a bit more passionate. Behind them, a grinning man wearing a v-neck shirt and a blazer, with a full beard and carefully styled hair, walks on, waving “hi.”

BRAIDER: Even becoming an Emergency Medical Technician only takes thirty three hours of training! This makes no sense!

SENATOR: This is Bob Johnson of the State Hairdresser’s Association. What do you say, Bob?

Panel 3

Bob leans his elbow on the Senator’s desk, oozing confidence. The Senator listens like an attentive schoolboy. Behind Bob, unnoticed, the Braider looks angry and appalled.

BOB: It’s far too dangerous to permit competit- I mean, to permit unlicensed hair braiding.

BOB: On a completely unrelated note, we’re increasing our donation to your re-election campaign.

Panel 4

The Senator, with a satisfied air, leans back on his chair, hands behind his head and feet on his desk. Bob grins and makes a “hand gun” gesture towards the Senator. The braider raises her hands into the air, and has a huge open mouth of despair and objection as she yells.

SENATOR: After careful deliberation, I’ve concluded unlicensed braiding would be a grave threat to public safety.

BOB: Thanks, Jeff. Lunch?

BRAIDER: THIS IS A TERRIBLE SYSTEM!

Small kicker panel below the bottom of the strip.

The Senator is talking to the braider.

SENATOR: If you don’t want to buy thousands of hours of training about white people’s hair, aren’t you the real racist?

Posted in Becky Hawkins collaborations, Economic cartoons, Racism & Racists |

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Cartoon by Barry


If you enjoy my cartoons, help me make more by supporting my patreon. A $1 pledge really helps!


Transcript of Cartoon

This cartoon has four panels.

PANEL 1

Two women, a dark-haired woman with glasses (who I was thinking of as Latina when I drew her, but looking at the finished drawing I have to admit she looks racially ambiguous) and a blonde white woman in a polka-dot skirt, are standing outside, talking on a sidewalk. Glasses is saying something enthusiastically; Polka is listening with a hand on her chin.

GLASSES: No regular person can afford a million dollars in medical bills if their kid is in an accident. So we’d ALL be helped by Medicare For All.

POLKA: That makes sense.

PANEL 2

The two are walking as they talk.

GLASSES: We need food stamps  and rent subsidies. Because no one in a rich country should be hungry or homeless.

POLKA: I hear you.

PANEL 3

GLASSES: And maybe we need some sort of federal job guarantee, so everyone who wants to work, can.

POLKA: That would have helped me a lot last year.

PANEL 4

Glasses continues to talk happily, hands outspread in a “it’s all so reasonable” gesture, but Polka is angrily yelling, pointing one finger into the air.

GLASSES: Plus, these programs can do a lot for groups like the Black-

POLKA: THESE IDEAS ARE SOCIALISM AND I’LL HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM!


This cartoon on Patreon.

Posted in Economic cartoons, Racism & Racists |

Doctor Austerity

Cartoon by Barry


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Austerity – the policy of cutting government social spending in order to appease fiscal hawks (and investors and creditors) – is arguably the most harmful economic policy in the world. The economist Paul Krugman describes what was going on in 2010:

…elites all across the western world were gripped by austerity fever, a strange malady that combined extravagant fear with blithe optimism. Every country running significant budget deficits – as nearly all were in the aftermath of the financial crisis – was deemed at imminent risk of becoming another Greece unless it immediately began cutting spending and raising taxes. Concerns that imposing such austerity in already depressed economies would deepen their depression and delay recovery were airily dismissed; fiscal probity, we were assured, would inspire business-boosting confidence, and all would be well. …

Since the global turn to austerity in 2010, every country that introduced significant austerity has seen its economy suffer, with the depth of the suffering closely related to the harshness of the austerity.

And it’s important to understand that even countries that wouldn’t choose austerity policies for themselves, can have those policies forced on them. (This thought is what inspired my cartoon). Creditors from larger, more powerful economies can insist on austerity policies. Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, regarding the economic disaster in Greece, wrote:

Of course, the economics behind the program that the “troika” (the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund) foisted on Greece five years ago has been abysmal, resulting in a 25 percent decline in the country’s GDP. I can think of no depression, ever, that has been so deliberate and had such catastrophic consequences: Greece’s rate of youth unemployment, for example, now exceeds 60 percent.

It is startling that the troika has refused to accept responsibility for any of this or admit how bad its forecasts and models have been. But what is even more surprising is that Europe’s leaders have not even learned. The troika is still demanding that Greece achieve a primary budget surplus (excluding interest payments) of 3.5 percent of GDP by 2018.

I think the reason austerity policies have such a hold on certain economic elites (turns and glares at Germany), as well as on many ordinary citizens, is that it tells a story which makes intuitive sense to us. Austerity is a morality play: If a country’s economy is bad, it’s because that country has been spending too much. So the solution is to starve for a while. Tighten your belt, Greece!

But at a country level, belt-tightening is the very worst thing a country can do in a recession. When governments slash spending, that means less people have work; when less people have work, they spend less, and recessions become worse. And if the recession getting worse leads to creditors demanding further cuts, a country can get caught in a vicious cycle.

In the Krugman article I linked to, written in 2015, Krugman wrote that no one believes in austerity anymore. But the idea – or, rather, the ideology – hasn’t gone away, and is currently causing great suffering in the UK.

In the U.S., any time the economy takes a downturn, the austerity ideologues emerge and call for cuts, cuts and more cuts. The more influence they have the next time we’re in a recession, the longer it’ll take us to recover.

In his article “How Austerity Ripped The World Apart,” Umair Haque takes a big-picture view, arguing that austerity is ultimately derived from economic thinking developed in slave-owning America. I don’t agree with everything Haque says, but his definition of austerity really struck me.

Austerity simply means a lack of investment by societies in themselves, in people, in public goods. Things like healthcare, education, transport, energy, retirement, decent jobs, incomes, savings. The problem is that all those things are what underpin the stability of societies, by ensuring that prosperity is something that is realized by all — not just something greedily seized by a tiny few.

 


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. All four panels are set in a doctor’s office. There are three people in each panel. The first is an extremely wealthy looking man – he looks like a stereotypical banker – in a three-piece suit, smoking a pipe. The second man is the patient, a disheveled and emaciated man in boxer shorts and a sleeveless shirt. The third man is Doctor Austerity. Doctor Austerity wears a white doctor’s coat, a stethoscope, and a head mirror. (That’s what they’re called, honest!). Doctor Austerity is a huge, hulking, powerful looking man, with large hands and deep-set eyes.

A caption at the bottom of the cartoon says “DOCTOR AUSTERITY.”

PANEL 1

The Banker and Doctor Austerity talk. Both are patting the Patient on the shoulder. The Patient is sitting on the examination table.

BANKER: Doctor Austerity, my friend’s economy is weak. Could you give him your treatment?

DOCTOR AUSTERITY: Of course! My treatment never fails!

PANEL 2

Doctor Austerity has his hands around the patients neck, squeezing hard, and has lifted the patient right off the examination table. The patient has wide eyes and his tongue is sticking out of his mouth.

PATIENT: Choke! Ack!

DOCTOR AUSTERITY: Soon he’ll be completely better!

PANEL 3

Doctor Austerity has let go of the patient; the patient is bent over, panting and gasping for air. The Banker peers at the patient; Doctor Austerity thinks hard, with one hand on his chin.

BANKER: That’s odd… He’s getting worse.

DOCTOR AUSTERITY: Hmnn!

PANEL 4

Doctor Austerity and the Banker smile at each other, chatting, while the doctor resumes choking the patient to death.

BANKER: Better apply more treatment.

DOCTOR AUSTERITY: Good plan!

Posted in Economic cartoons |

Inheriting the Economy

Cartoon by Barry

This cartoon was drawn by Becky Hawkins. who I’ve collaborated with several times before.


Help me make more cartoons: Support my patreon! A $1 pledge really helps.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

There are four panels in this cartoon.

PANEL 1

Two youngish adults, a man and a woman, are thrilled as they look at a yellow sports car with a big red bow wrapped around it. Their clothes and hairdos both suggest the 1970s.

MAN: Wow! What a GREAT economy we’ve inherited.

PANEL 2

The two of them are speeding along in the car, going so fast that the car is several feet above the ground. A rabbit flees in terror. He is grinning; she is throwing a fist into the air.

MAN: Zoom! ZOOM!

WOMAN: Whoopie!

PANEL 3

The same man and woman, but now looking in their 60s (and with updated wardrobe and hair), are standing by the now completely wrecked and smoking car. They’ve put a red bow on the wreckage, and they look very cheerful, maybe even proud. There’s a young man and a young woman, looking like they’re in shock. The older man holds out car keys to the young man.

MAN: Okay, kids, take the keys! It’s all yours now!

PANEL 4

The older man and woman talk to each other. In the background, the yellow sports car wreckage has burst into flames; the young woman looks shocked, and the young man, unnoticed by the older couple, is giving them the finger.

MAN: Why don’t they drive like we did?

WOMAN: Millennials are so lazy.

 

Posted in Becky Hawkins collaborations, Economic cartoons |

If Taxation Really WERE Just Like Theft

Cartoon by Barry


Help me make more cartoons: Support my patreon! A $1 pledge really means a lot.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has six panels, with a caption underneath the bottom of the strip.

PANEL 1
Two women pull back in shock from a mugger holding a gun pointed at them. They are all on a sidewalk; there’s a cracked wall behind them, covered with graffiti. The mugger is dressed like a very stereotypical criminal: Black knit cap, dark sweatshirt, and even a domino mask.

MUGGER: Hand over your money!

PANEL 2
The mugger walks down a sidewalk, cheerfully talking to himself and holding a wad of cash. There’s some grassy hills and trees next to the sidewalk; it might be a park.

MUGGER: Phew! That was a long day of stealing! Now to go use this money!

PANEL 3
The mugger is handing a wad of cash to a workman; the workman is carrying a shovel and wearing a hardhat. They are on a city street, with a sidewalk and alleyway behind them; there are a few large potholes visible on the sidewalk. Both are smiling.

MUGGER: Here’s some money. So you’ll fill in these potholes?
WORKMAN: That’s the job!

PANEL 4
In a supermarket, a mom, pushing a nearly empty shopping cart, is talking to her son. The mugger is nearby, holding out a wad of money to her.

MOM: I don’t know how we’ll afford groceries this month, sweetie.
MUGGER: Pardon me, I’m your mugger. Here’s some money for food.

PANEL 5
The mugger and a businessman in a suit are in a boardroom type place. The mugger is leaning forward on the table to look intently at a big diagram of a missile; there’s also a stack of papers on the table next to him. The businessman is speaking, with a slightly predatory smile on his face, raising a forefinger as if making a point. Both mugger and businessman are seating in plush chairs. There’s a huge window behind them, with a view of the cityscape beyond.

BUSINESSMAN: We have drone missiles that can flatten a city block from half a world away.
MUGGER: Impressive. I’ll buy ten thousand.

PANEL 6
The mugger (still wearing his domino mask, as he has been the entire strip) is standing on A little stage platform in a park. Next to him is a man wearing a hoodie and a ski mask. Both are speaking into microphones; a little crowd is listening to them. The ski mask guy is holding out a hand dramatically; the mugger is holding a hand to his chest in an “I’m just a regular guy” sort of gesture.

SKI MASK DUDE: I’ve got the experience to be your next mugger!
MUGGER: Which mugger would you rather have a beer with? Me!

Below the entire strip is a caption. The caption says: IF TAXATION WERE JUST LIKE THEFT.

Posted in Barry's favorites, Economic cartoons |